5 Cleaning Tips Everyone Should Know

Even if cleaning’s not your thing, it’s good to have these tricks in your back pocket. 

We can't all be accountants—but everyone needs to know how to create a budget or calculate a tip. We can't all be cleaning pros, either. But there are certain cleaning tips everyone should know. From the importance of washing certain things every day to the right way to disinfect, here are some morsels of cleaning knowledge that will serve you well.

01 of 05

The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

Knowing the right terms will help you buy the right products—and the right products make the process easier. While cleaning is the act of removing all visible dirt, dust, and debris from a surface, disinfecting works on the microscopic level to rid a surface of bacteria and viruses. And sanitizing is somewhere in between—not killing all germs but reducing them to a safe level. (Why wouldn't you want to kill all germs? For some items—like cooking tools, food prep surfaces, and toys that children might put in their mouths—it's best to avoid the harshest, germ-destroying chemicals.)

Cleaning the toilet or tackling a big mess involving bodily fluids? Time to bring out a disinfecting spray. Just wiping down a kitchen counter? Use a sanitizer that's formulated for your surface. Start by wiping away dust and crumbs before spritzing the surface, otherwise the debris will act as a barrier, preventing the spray from reaching the surface underneath.

RELATED: 6 Common Disinfecting Myths That Are Sabotaging Your Cleaning Efforts

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The Importance of Contact Time

Contact time is the recommended amount of time a spray or product has to sit on a surface in order to kill the percent of bacteria or viruses it claims to destroy. There's a reason we call not following contact times the #1 cleaning mistake: Not waiting long enough could allow germs to linger on surfaces. When you buy a new cleaning product, take a second to read the fine print on the packaging and follow the suggested contact time.

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The Short List of Things to Clean Every Day

Dirty dishes and kitchen countertops are among the five things you should clean every day, because of their potential to attract bugs and make your home smell. Knowing which chores can wait (like vacuuming) and which ones need doing daily (like taking out the trash) is a great ability to have, especially if you hate cleaning.

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The Trick to Cleaning a Burnt Pot

This one's necessary for obvious reasons: Who hasn't had to deal with a burnt pot at some point? You might as well learn the secret to cleaning it: Deglaze first with water and then with white vinegar. Then reach for one of these scrapers to remove every last bit of stuck-on food.

05 of 05

How to Refresh a Bed

All things considered, we spend a lot of time in bed. That fact alone can make you wonder just how clean your bed is. And while you may wash your sheets regularly, what about the mattress, duvet insert, and pillows? Time to learn how to refresh your bed.

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